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Tigray to push ahead with polls despite NEBE snub

By Neamin Ashenafi

Getachew Reda

The National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE), which received a notice from the Tigray Regional State Council about holding regional polls, has rejected the request citing the Board does not conduct an election unless and otherwise a reassessment is conducted related to the condition of the global pandemic COVID-19 and a conducive environment is created to hold elections.

It is to be remembered that, on June 12, 2020, Members of the Council of the Tigray Regional State had unanimously endorsed a decision to hold regional elections before the term of the existing council comes to an end.

The Council has also instructed the regional administration to file a formal request with the NEBE to hold the election no later than September 10, 2020. The Council’s decision also calls for the formation of a regional electoral board if the NEBE is not able or willing to respond in the stated deadline.

The regional state also requested the Board to accept its decision and make the necessary preparations, including manpower and logistics, to conduct the election.

It is therefore in line with such communications that the Board, on Wednesday June 24, 2020, rejected the request stating that “there is no legal ground to deploy manpower and provide logistical support for the region to hold an election”.

Following the rejection, Getachew Reda, member of the Executive Committee of Tigrayan Peoples’ Liberation Front (TPLF), told The Reporter that “considering the decision of the regional council to hold a regional election, the next step is to establish our own election commission at a regional level.”

“The establishment of the regional electoral commission is something that has been decided by both the party and the regional cabinet,” Getachew said, adding that “what is now left is to take the case to the regional council so that it can decide on the establishment of the regional electoral commission.”

“The right to self-administration is not something that can be taken away or halted by any force; therefore, conducting a regional election is one of the manifestation of such rights,” Getachew emphasized.

The dispute between the federal government and TPLF has now reached a tipping point where the latter vowed to hold general election, refusing to accept the decision of the federal parliament to postpone elections due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: The Reporter

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